Climate change ecology

Climate change ecology

Climate change ecology is the study of the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on the ecological patterns of populations, species and communities. This includes distributions, especially such as how species follow their preferred environmental conditions, abundance and biomass as indicating the health of populations, behavioural changes including the critical timings of life cycle stages, and individual physiology such as recording levels of stress in an organisms body. Although the climate has changed in the past, the process of change is usually very slow and ecosystems can usually recover or change accordingly without loss. However, when the climate changes rapidly, in a geological sense, an ecosystem may not be able to keep up with its environment. We hypothesise such scenarios to underlie some of the worse mass extinctions in the fossil record, so the stakes cannot really be higher! Especially since we are still very much dependent on natural ecosystems for services like clean air, flood prevention, food and happinness. What climate change ecology aims to do is to properly assess the probability and nature of ecological responses to anthropogenic climate change, so we can anticipate future impacts. Then society can make an informed choice on what courses of action it is willing to take, either to avoid, remedy or accommodate expected ecological loss.

See what CCAT researchers are contributing to this science in the list of publications below (or go to About -> Our awesome research)

Research articles


The Neogene began 23 million years ago, and it goes until now. It was or is the period when the […]